Great Vic Bike Ride
It’s going to be sunny, and we’re going to be riding 650 kilometres over 10 days on this year’s Great Vic Bike Ride. So it only makes sense to seek out the top swimming spots on our route along the coastline from Robe to Torquay.
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Before we’ve even set off on the bike riding adventure, you simply cannot miss a chance to dip your toes in one of South Australia’s most popular strips of paradise.
With 12 kilometres of white sand, Long Beach might be the second longest beach the Great Vic has visited (behind the 151-kilometre Ninety Mile Beach from the 2017 ride) and is one of the few beaches where you can drive your car right up to the water.
You might need a fat-tyre bicycle to ride on on the sand, but it’s definitely worth a stroll and a swim after you’ve set up your tent.
Pool of Siloam
It may not be one of the beautiful stretches of Limestone Coast beach, but this landlocked lake is actually seven times saltier than the sea!
Not only does this make for an extremely buoyant floating session, it also (allegedly) gives the lake therapeutic powers – the perfect place to refresh any rusty legs halfway into our very first 78km leg from Robe to Millicent.
The lake is just a five-minute ride from out first day lunch stop in the town of Beachport.
Honourable mention: the adjacent Salmon Hole is one of the ultimate swimming spots on the Limestone Coast, with a sandbar that creates large crystal-clear shallows to paddle around in.
Little Blue Lake
Unfortunately you can’t go swimming in Mount Gambier’s famous big Blue Lake (as it’s their drinking water supply), but luckily we’re setting up a rest stop at the Little Blue Lake on our way in to town.
The Little Blue lake features stairs down to a pontoon for diving, which is a popular spot for locals to cool off in the fresh clear water.
Like its famous big brother, the Little Blue Lake is a volcanic sink hole, as the town of Mount Gambier is actually built on a volcano of the same name which is thought to have erupted about 6,000 years ago. Don’t worry, it won’t be erupting again anytime soon!
Portland is where we will be setting up camp after our third day of riding. This classic coastal town is full of beautiful beaches, but we’ve chosen Nuns Beach for its unbeatable location.
Just a short stroll from our day four campsite, you’ll find grassy areas with playgrounds, cafes, take away food and toilets on your way to Nuns Beach for a paddle. There’s also a great lookout walk.
Honourable mention: on your way out of town the next day, Dutton Way has some beautiful (non-patrolled) sandy coves hidden between the green sloped banks.
Pea Soup Beach
Many people in Port Fairy head to East Beach, which is popular for a reason and very close to our campsite, but since we have a little bit more time to explore the area on rest day, we recommend travelling just a few hundred metres further to Pea Soup Beach (also known as South Beach).
Not just because it has a cute name, but also because the small beach is protected by basalt reefs that creates calm, shallow lagoons to relax and cool off in.
Of course, while you’re in town you’re going to have to visit Griffith Island to check out the Port Fairy Lighthouse and migratory Mutton Birds. If you venture around the island you can also find some nice stretches of sand to sink your toes in.
Port Campbell Bay
As we pedal from Peterborough along the Great Ocean Road, we will be cruising straight through the popular coastal town of Port Campbell.
Port Campbell Bay is a gently sloping family-friendly pocket of tiered beach and lawn, sheltered from much of the Southern Ocean swell. With the lure of ice cream and coffee just a short stroll across the road, the spacious lawn is a popular place to rest under the shade of a Norfolk pine tree.
If you’ve got time, it could be a nice place for a quick splash before jumping back on the Great Ocean Road toward Beech Forest.
Lorne Main Beach
With those coming from Robe having ridden 600 kilometres by this point, and with the finish line in sight, Lorne Main Beach is the perfect place to pull up for a well-earned rest and reflect on the journey that has been.
The popular beach has plenty of grassy space before the sand to sit down for a picnic, and the ocean normally has some family-friendly waves (if you’ve still got the energy). The main street, including some fabled fish ‘n’ chips, are also just behind you, as well as a playground and public toilets.
What did we miss?
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*Riders should take caution of conditions when considering any swimming location along the route. Avoid swimming in areas that are not patrolled by life guards.